Sunday, July 09, 2006


Having scuffed his trainers so badly when he suggested all rappers and hip-hoppers were knife-wielding asbo magnets, Callmedave Cameron is attempting to rebuild his credibility with what you just know his master plan calls "the voters of tomorrow."

He's calling for tolerance for hoodies.

"We - the people in suits - often see hoodies as aggressive, the uniform of a rebel army of young gangsters," the Tory leader is expected to say.

"But hoodies are more defensive than offensive. They're a way to stay invisible in the street. In a dangerous environment the best thing to do is keep your head down, blend in."

Mr Cameron will say that, for some people, "the hoodie represents all that's wrong about youth culture in Britain today".

However, he will go on: "For me, adult society's response to the hoodie shows how far we are from finding the long-term answers to put things right."

Were this not a somewhat transparent attempt to draw a line under his attack on rap as, well, representing all that's wrong about youth culture in Britain today, it would still be rather questionable - and, of course, most people who actually bother to talk to younger people have found that much of the knife carrying is "more defensive rather than offensive", but that didn't stop Cameron leaping to a knee-jerk demonisation.

The real problem, though, is that the hoodie moral panic only really existed in the mind of the Daily Mail over a year ago. It might have made some sense to issue a helping hand of friendship back then, but going up to kids on street corners this summer and saying "I'll support your right to wear hooded tops" is about as relevant as offering to ensure they can always find places for skiffle group to practice.

Attacks on clothes worn by teenagers are exactly the same thing as attacks on music listened to by teenagers (and lame-ass defences of the same) really do miss the point. There are young adults who are frightened, alienated, threatening, angry, upset and all points in-between. Those are the problems. Hooded tops? They're just a fashion.


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